UAOC HIERARCHS' EASTER PASTORAL LETTER
TO THE CLERGY, RELIGIOUS & FAITHFUL OF THE UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH OF NORTH & SOUTH AMERICA: PEACE, HEALTH & SALVATION IN THE RISEN CHRIST - THE LIVING GOD, WITH OUR ARCHPASTORAL BLESSING:
CHRIST IS RISEN! KHYRSTOS VOSKRES!
Pascha - Easter Sunday 2000
"He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name . . . From his fullness we have all received, grace for grace" (John 1: 10-12; 16).
The Easter Liturgy is highlighted with the above theme from the Prologue to St. Johnís Gospel. It may seem strange at the outset, that this is the chosen Gospel for the Paschal Divine Liturgy, rather than one of the actual resurrection accounts from any of the four evangelists. With reflection though, we come to see the unfolding of the faith-development of Jesusí followers in light of his resurrection. The return of Christ from death to life was not only a singular event in human time and space, but one which possesses an ongoing power to transform believers into children of God. Faith is the keypoint of the resurrection and it is that which enables all of us to make sense out of what is often a life full of difficulty and uncertainty. The fact that Christ is risen gives us the assurance of the one thing certain: the opportunity to share eternal life - the confirmation that there is more to living than what we can see and feel now - the comfort that God can transform what seems to be unbearable and final into an endless chance for peace and joy.
The experience of Easter gave Jesusí disciples the chance to open their hearts in faith to God, thus living as his children. The choice now continues to be ours. We can either accept the new chance on life that God offers or reject it because of our own stubbornness and self-pride. Change is often difficult but almost always is necessary to pave the road to growth and life. Hopefully, for all of us, the experience of this past Lent has helped us to grow above and beyond ourselves, in an attempt to reach out to God and others. It is our prayer, that in the spirit of the Great Jubilee, we will all open our souls to the reconciliation which God wants for us. It is only with a heart and mind open to the word and activity of God in our lives that we will continue to grow into true disciples - children of God, "begotten, not by human choice or decision, but of God" (Jn. 1: 13).
Our prayers and blessings are with you, that the power and hope of the Resurrection will touch each of you, your families and your loved ones.
With Fraternal Love in the Risen Christ,
Archbishop of New York
Primate & Archbishop-Major
Archbishop of Cleveland
Metropolitan of North & South America
Titular Bishop of Maramaros
Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland